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Creative Marketing: Creativity Is a Lifestyle, with Loo Yong Ping

Advertising Agency
Singapore, Singapore
The deputy executive creative director of TBWA\Singapore on why creativity needs to be believed in, encouraged and applied

Yong Ping is currently the creative lead on Singapore Airlines. Over his 10 years of experience so far in London and Singapore, Yong Ping has worked on a wide portfolio of brands such as Singapore Airlines, Changi Airport Group, National Museum of Singapore, and more. He has also had experience working with brands in London, such as BBC, UKTV and Fox International.

His work tends to span across brand, digital, social media, film and print campaigns. Him and his team have won at multiple prestigious international awards shows, such as Cannes, D&AD and One Show.​

​Outside of advertising, he collaborates with brands to create content on Instagram and is a proud #GirlDad

LBB> What does creativity mean to your brand?

Ping> Creativity means coming up with unexpected and innovative solutions, fresh ideas, beautiful executions or all of the above, all at once! As Einstein once said, creativity is intelligence having fun. 

LBB> And more broadly what does creativity mean to you - outside of work, outside of the sphere of advertising and marketing?

Ping> Creativity is a lifestyle, mindset, freedom of imagination, it’s constantly being inspired, open to new influences, being a sponge to culture and what’s happening around you. I believe everybody was born with creativity in them, and we just need to uncover what’s being buried.

LBB> What was the moment pr experience in your career that really helped ferment the importance of creativity in marketing?

Ping> It might have been my first taste of D&AD when I was an undergraduate at University of the Arts London (UAL), as it opened the doors to meeting more people in the industry, like-minded creatives and ultimately helped me land my first full-time job in London. It mattered because it showed that the industry and marketeers valued creativity and want the best talent to work on their brands.

LBB> What have you learned is the key to nurturing fruitful relationships with your creative partners?

Ping> It takes a small village to bring any creative idea to fruition and having good partners to ensure that the core of the idea is executed to the best of its potential. Making everybody feel like they are part of the journey helps build ownership. As the deputy executive creative director at TBWA\Singapore, my job is to protect the idea and help steer the ship in matters related to the work. 

LBB> Which creative campaigns from other brands (past or present) have inspired you most in your career and why?

Ping> I’ve always loved the old British Airways ‘Face’ commercial from the early 90s, that was my earliest memory of an amazing advertisement and has stuck with me till today. It has inspired me in my career to produce memorable work which might inspire somebody out there. Whether or not it wins awards, I want the work I produce to be memorable and inspiring. 

LBB> What campaign that you’ve worked on has been the most creatively satisfying and why?

Ping> All of them are creatively satisfying because it’s a privilege to be paid to bring my ideas to life.  

LBB> Of all of the puzzles facing marketers right now, what’s the topic that’s perplexing your team the most right now?

Ping> The over fixation and emphasis on buzzwords, right now it’s “A.I”. Who knows what’s next? 

LBB> What areas of marketing are you seeing most exciting potential for creativity?

Ping> Lately there’s been an increase in interesting brand collaborations and partnerships, or even the creation of new products. I see this as a very exciting space for creatives to create.  

LBB> You must see so many ideas pitched to you - and have had to sell in so many ideas to the rest of your company. So what’s the key to selling a great idea?

Ping> It’s all in the pre-sell, get people to buy the idea in small groups or at a personal level before selling it to a larger audience. You always need people to back you up when you want to sell in a great idea.

LBB> In your experience how can marketing teams drive creativity throughout the rest of an organisation?

Ping> It starts at the top, the leadership needs to believe in creativity, apply it and encourage it. Only then will the rest of an organization adopt it. Creativity needs a safe and secure environment to thrive. I think a culture of creativity can only be cultivated in an environment where everyone is encouraged to be brave and to step out of the box. 

LBB> How do you encourage creative excellence among your team?

Ping> I actively share and celebrate excellent creative work from the teams, and also work outside of TBWA which I believe are category defining work. It’s important to expose the teams to creative work which might inspire them in the briefs they are working on.

LBB> The big question. We know creativity is effective but when you’re assessing an idea that’s totally original and new, how do you figure out if it’s brilliant or indulgent?

Ping> Some call it thin slicing, others call it listening to your gut, sometimes it’s experience. The more work and campaigns you’re exposed to, the more accurate your creative compass is.

LBB> Tell us about a time you’ve really had to fight for a creative idea - what was the idea, what was the obstacle and why was it worth it?

Ping> It was for a digital firecracker idea I had for a local Telco. Firecrackers were banned in Singapore since the 70s, taking away a vital part of Chinese New Year celebrations from the community. The clients bought the idea, but the real obstacle was budget and resources.

I designed the UI/UX, filmed and photographed the firecrackers overseas on a tight budget, and worked very closely with a freelance developer to bring it to life. We pulled a lot of favours to get a film and case study film made. It took a lot of effort, grit, extra time out of the office and passion for the idea to bring it to life. It was worth it as I learnt a lot from the experience, and it also goes to show that if you really want something bad enough, you have to do it yourself.

What one piece of advice do you have for marketers at the beginning of their career who’re still figuring out how to drive impactful creative marketing?

Ping> Be open to learn, be willing to collaborate, and don’t give up. As a creative, ideas are our product and that’s what we’re paid to create. Don’t get too precious or upset when ideas are criticised, or unsold. Instead, be ready to come up with the next amazing idea.

With any career, it’s a marathon and not a sprint. Don’t expect overnight success.

Agency / Creative
Work from TBWA\Singapore
Bread and Better
HSBC Singapore
Nobile Technology
Lens on World Class
Singapore Airlines